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Published: October 13th 2009
Source: PRNewswire-USNewswire
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Edward W. Rodzwicz, President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, was arrested on a federal complaint charging him with bribery, Acting U.S. Attorney Michael W. Reap announced today.

Rodzwicz is the sitting President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), a national labor union with over 55,000 members consisting of railroad employees throughout the United States. It is a division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT).

According to the affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, the BLET maintains a list of designated legal counsel (DLC), who are recommended to their membership to handle injury cases under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). Designation as a DLC generates very lucrative business for designated attorneys. The National President of the BLET has final authority over the designation of FELA attorneys. In February 2009, an internal compliance committee recommended that a particular DLC attorney for the BLET should lose his designation, due to alleged violations of DLC Rules of Conduct. On March 10, 2009, Rodzwicz approached that attorney in Little Rock, Ark., and solicited a payment from that attorney in exchange for allowing him to retain his DLC designation. The DLC attorney contacted the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General. In subsequent meetings at the attorney's office in St. Louis, and at Harrah's Casino, Las Vegas, Rodzwicz solicited and agreed to accept a cash payment of $10,000 from the attorney, plus the promise of an additional cash payment of $10,000 after Rodzwicz allowed him to retain his designation. Rodzwicz accepted a cash payment from the attorney on April 28, 2009, in Las Vegas, and he sent a letter allowing the attorney to retain his designation on May 1, 2009. He accepted a second cash payment of $10,000 from the attorney on Sept. 16, 2009, in Kansas City, Mo.

The complaint was filed in the Eastern District of Missouri last week and remained suppressed until the arrest of Mr. Rodzwicz this morning by agents with the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, at his home in Avon, Ohio.

Daniel R. Petrole, Acting Inspector General, U.S. Department of Labor, stated: "Union members expect that their officials will do what is right on their behalf. If these allegations are proven, there has been a serious breach of the union members' trust. My agency will continue to work with the U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate this type of crime."

Rodzwicz, 63, was charged with one violation of 18 U.S.C. section 666, bribery in connection with a federally funded program; and one violation of 18 U.S.C. section 1952, interstate travel to carry on unlawful activity. He made his initial appearance this afternoon in Cleveland.

If convicted, 18 U.S.C. section 666 carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000; 18 U.S.C. section 1952 carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.

The charges set forth in a complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
 

 
 
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